So long sizzle; Ford’s Real Hamburgers is finished.
The recession has been hard on the Land Park landmark.
“We scrimped and saved and cut down the staff. I’m down to 6 employees. But…” said owner Hank Vereschzagin.
But then came the lawsuit. The allegation is that Ford’s is out of compliance with the ADA – the American’s with Disabilities Act.
And in truth, Ford’s is out of compliance. Go rolling up to the Ford’s bathroom in a wheelchair, and you won’t get in. There’s not enough room.
“I’ve been coming here 21 years,” said jerry Silvia. Silvia is paralyzed from the chest down, but that did stop him from making Ford’s a favorite.
1/3 pounder with fries is his regular order.
Ford’s owners say the lawsuit they are facing for their ADA problems was brought by Scott Johnson, a local attorney who makes a living by bringing these types of cases – often on his own behalf.
He didn’t respond by news time to our request to talk with him about this story, but he did speak to FOX40 in February when he was suing a diner in Pollock Pines.
“Being a quadriplegic,” Johnson said of himself during that interview, “there’s nothing I can do about that. But these businesses that have structural barriers to access, that’s frustrating.”
Jerry Silvia said he doesn’t feel like Johnson is working on his behalf.
“No. He’s strictly crusading on his own behalf,” Silvia said.
Still, today, on this battle ground of burgers, it seems good eats and the greater good can’t coexist on the same plate. Ford’s owners say there just isn’t enough money to fix the building that was built more than 60 years ago.
“I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m going to do next,” said Vereschzagin. “I just know I can’t keep this open.”